Two-thirds of Bangladesh's land area sits at an elevation of five meters or less, leaving the densely populated country with more than 165 million people vulnerable to devastating natural disasters like cyclones, floods, earthquakes and landslides. Improving the country’s resilience to immediate and future climate risks is essential to sustain Bangladesh’s development gains. USAID works with the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) to build resilience of individuals, communities, institutions, and the economy to the impacts of man-made and natural disasters, changing climatic conditions, and helps safeguard wildlife, forests and wetlands.
Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change
USAID strengthens the resilience of communities that are most vulnerable to climate change through increasing their access to climate information and alternative livelihood opportunities while preserving protected forests and enhancing tree coverage. USAID also partners with fishing communities to prevent overfishing and preserve precious stocks of fish, including the popular hilsa fish, which are essential sources of food and income. In addition, USAID investments help local governments use climate information, data, and analysis to drive more effective decision-making and enable these institutions to better respond to the needs of local constituents.
Over the last 20 years, USAID has helped Bangladesh better protect its natural resources and biodiversity by bringing together local communities and the government to co-manage more than one million hectares – or nearly 2.5 million acres – of wetlands and forest areas. USAID also partners with local law enforcement agencies to combat transnational wildlife crimes in Bangladesh. Empowered community co-management groups monitor protected areas to conserve flora and fauna, prevent illegal poaching, and reduce natural resource degradation.
Promoting Sustainable Energy and Green Policy
Increased use of renewable energy, more energy-efficient technology, and diversifying the country's energy mix with sustainable and secure resources is critical to meet the increasing energy demand and maintain Bangladesh’s economic growth trajectory. USAID improves the financial viability of clean energy options and promotes incentives for investment. We also work closely with Bangladesh to develop more effective energy resource planning, subsidies and tariff structuring, energy procurement reform, and strengthened policies to underpin clean energy initiatives and reduce harmful emissions. These efforts aim to make sustainable energy more affordable and accessible to Bangladeshis in rural and urban areas, as well as commercial and industrial energy consumers.
Prioritizing Climate-Smart Agriculture
USAID-supported Feed the Future activities promote climate-smart agricultural approaches to help farmers and producers adapt to changes in growing conditions, and train farmers to adopt cultivation practices that reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions. As weather becomes more volatile, USAID investments are helping reduce farmer exposure to climate risks through the use of machinery that speeds up the planting and harvest process. Investments in research for more resilient varieties of rice and other crops are enabling smallholder farm households to better endure shocks like drought, salt water intrusion, or increased prevalence of pests that damage their plants. Communities are benefiting from new road and market infrastructure specifically designed to withstand the increased rainfall intensity that climate change is bringing to Bangladesh.
- In 2022, USAID improved natural resources management across nearly 230,000 hectares of forests and watersheds, and provided more than 53,000 people with livelihood support to reduce their reliance on natural resources.
- USAID programs in communities impacted by the Rohingya refugee crisis partnered with village groups to plant more than 200,000 indigenous saplings to restore biodiversity.
- USAID investments supported more than 100,000 individuals to apply climate adaptation and mitigation technologies and practices, covering around 15,000 hectares of land.